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(1) be regarded as the reward of their faithfulness, (2); still, for our salvation, as a whole, we are by no means indebted to our faithfulness (3). It is the gift of pure grace (4), for which we are indebted to Christ (5) and to the divine mercy which provided for us a Saviour (6). The future blessedness of children, who have not been capable of evincing faithfulness, can most certainly be derived from no other source than the free grace of God through Christ. And upon the same foundation will every one rest his hopes, who compares impartially his own faithfulness with that future blessedness which is provided for us (7). For by salvation we do not mean any degree of happiness, however small, which should be mingled with those forebodings naturally excited by our crimes ; but the remission of all our sins, combined with a freedom from all pain and the enjoyment of heavenly happiness. We speak not of a condition which differs but little from our present lot, but of such an exalted felicity, as men could not without the greatest presumption, expect on the ground of their own merits (8). Who (9) that is but tolerably acquainted with himself, could presume, on account of the holiness and other moral excellences of his character, to lay claim to a union with the holy angels and with the holy Jesus? Or who could presume to say that his character and conduct have been such, that he could demand a glorious renovation of his soul and body after death, and an admission into so glorious a residence as this earth will be after its transformation into “ a new earth ?" § 61.
1. Salvation must ever be considered as the gift of the free grace and goodness of God.—When we inquire, who shall be partaker of it, and in what degree will it be bestowed on particular individuals; we always presuppose that God has provided for sinful man, an undeserved happiness. The question, therefore, amounts only to this : On what conditions can we become partakers of this undeserved gift of God's grace? It is certainly pure grace that after mankind had fallen so low, that, in consequence of their natural depravity, they either die in infancy before they are capable of fidelity in the discharge of their duties ($ 68), or if they attain the ordinary age of men, still never arrive at that degree of perfection which they would otherwise have attained; God should still raise these fallen creatures to that elevation for which they were destined in their primitive state, and propose to their aim, a blessedness bearing no proportion to the ruined state of man. But although this destination to so great a happiness is not dependent on the faithfulness of men, it is not inconsistent either with the law or with justice. For the degree of happiness which each individual rational being may attain, does not depend merely on his fidelity, but on the previous free grace and goodness of the Creator, who has given to each one a particular meaşure of talents and means to aid him in his course of obedience; and who has appointed a kind of salvation, adapted to these circumstances, the magnitude or the loss of which depends on the degree of their faithfulness or unfaithfulness. The only peculiarity in men, is that they were created anew by Christ and have again obtained so honourable a station in the world of spirits. We are said in Scripture, to be created a new people through Christ Jesus and
1 See Schmid's Moral Philosophy, p. 282, No. 2. 2 On the Object of the death of Christ, p. 617. VOL. II.
his death, in as far as we are indebted to Christ (Ephes. 1: 7) and his death, for our translation into the abodes of the blessed spirits (2: 5—7), or for our exalted destination to be members of the people of God. But men are also distinguished from the other spirits by these circumstances: they were not all created at the same time and placed in circumstances in which their will was altogether unrestrained; but one is begotten after another; this successive generation occasions the propagation of a depraved nature and of the consequences attendant on it. 6 But to no class of sinful creatures was it so natural to expect that the righteousness of another should be imputed, as to man, whose situation was most entitled to commiseration, inasmuch as he had been brought into it by the disobedience of another."2 Nevertheless, the justice of God made provision that the disobedience of our first parents, by which their descendants were brought into so miserable a situation, should not be regarded as a trivial evil; and that other disobedient persons might not make the grace of God an ostensible pretext to justify their levity. This end was effected by the plan of salvation which God established; namely, that the family of man, which had lost its original perfections and advantages through the disobedience of one individual, should be restored in no other than a moral
way ($ 92); i. e. by the obedience of an individual, who should also suffer the punishment of that apostacy which, by virtue of our natural connexion with our first parents, was entailed on us all, and thus liberate us from this punishment (989); and that now, since the human family is created anew, is restored to that state in which we sinful creatures may hope to attain a felicity unmingled with pain, we are affected by precisely the same law, which governs spirits who have never fallen. And yet that the underived salvation which God had through mere grace appointed for
]bid, p. 419.
2 Ibid. p. 659.
- man, and which man had lost through the guilt of another, is refus
ed at least to the disobedient, and is bestowed upon others according to the degrees of their faithfulness. 67.
On this subject, the reader may consult Rapp, On the moral springs of action, especially those contained in Scripture ;' and Flatt’s Remarks on the proportion between morality and happiness; with a special reference to the christian doctrine of the future happiness of truly converted and reformed persons. In this latter work it is proved, that the unmerited happiness promised to christians, is not inconsistent with an invariable proportion between morality and happiness.
II. Our salvation is in Scripture, sometimes also represented as a reward.—Matth. 5: 12, rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward, piolos, in heaven, 16:27, then he shall reward, anodoot, every man according to his works. Luke 10: 28, and he (Jesus) said unto him (the lawyer), Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live. 6:35. comp. 10: 25. 2 Tim. 4: 7, I have fought the good fight &c, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, o ens diraloouuns otepavos. Phil. 3: 14, I press toward the mark, for the prize whereunto God from on high hath called, through Christ Jesus. Col. 3: 24, knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ. Rom. 2:6. 2 Cor. 5:10. Eph. 6: 8. 1 Cor. 3:8, every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 15: 58, therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Heb. 10: 25. 2 John 8, be careful that we lose not those things which we have wrought; but that we receive a full reward.
1 Mauchart's Repertorium, B. II, S. 161. 2 Flatt's Mag. No. 2. Vol. 2.
III. Still salvation is not merited by our works.—Tit. 3:5, but when the kindness and (philanthropy) benevolence of our Saviour, God, appeared, he saved us, not on account of works of righteousness which we have done, but on account of his mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour. 2 Tim. 1: 9, who (God) hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not on account of our works, but on account of his own purpose and the grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus before the world began. Eph. 2: 8, for by grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Rom. 4: 2–6. 3: 20—28. 9: 32, not of works.— Without works &c.--to him that worketh not &c. Gal. 2:16, knowing that man is not justified by the deeds of the law. By works of the law, apya vouov, is meant all that the whole Mosaic law prescribed : αυτου (του πατρος) εργον, i. e. το εργον ο εδωκε μοι ο πατήρ the work which the Father had imposed on me, or which the Father gave me to do.” See John 17: 4. For we must not apply the new division of the Mosaic law into moral and ceremonial, to the discourse of the apostle. The ceremonial observances are of course excluded from the causes of salvation. But so also is the observance of the moral precepts of those Mosaic laws (Rom. 2: 17-24), the obligation of which was known before the Law was given to Moses (Rom. 4: 2-5, 9), and which were obligatory on the heathen also (2: 14—20). In short, when we speak of the ground or cause of our salvation, all human works and human merit of any kind, must be totally excluded; for the cause of . this salvation is to be sought entirely in the grace of God, not in what we have done, but in what he has done for us. Rom. 3: