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ciples. The legitimate conclusion would naturally be-and it is the sentiment universally inculcated in the Scriptures—" that if one diea for all, then were all dead,” &c. This text is rarely adduced in proof of this doctrine; yet it appears to us the more conclusive from the fact, that the declaration that Christ “ died for all” is stated incident. ally or assumed in the premises, and is not the main proposition in the argument; clearly proving that the apostle regarded this postulate, which he lays down in the premises, as a verity utterly unquestionable; hence he makes it the basis of an argument by which to establish another conclusion which he wishes to make appear equally unquestionable.
That Christ made satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual, including the “ wicked who had perished from the earth, and were in the prison of despair, at the period of the crucifixion, involves, in the opinion of Mr. A.," a palpable absurdity.' He therefore asks, “ Why are they compelled to suffer, since a “per. fect redemption and satisfaction have been obtained for them ?" " In answer, let us inquire, how it was ever possible for them to be saved if redemption or satisfaction has ever been obtained for them? Yea, more: how could they be justly punished under the covenant of grace if never included in the provisions of the atonement ? Will Mr. A. tell us how we are to brook this difficulty ? Otherwise, starless and despairing must have been the gloomy night of their accursed existence, which never was, and never will be cheered with one ray of hope, por ever echoed with one note of offered mercy! But was this ever, or will it ever be, the condition of one of the offspring of Adam? The nature and scope of the first promise, made to the original offenders before an offspring was born to them; the universal adaptation, scope, and genius of the divinely-originated system ; all the figurative and emblematical representations of that system under the patriarchal and legal dispensations; the predictions of prophets pointing to the one great sacrifice already prospectively offered agreeably to the divine promise and purpose, with all the joyful declarations of celestial mes. sengers announcing a Saviour's birth, his own teaching while on earth, and the sublime and evangelical doctrines, preaching, and epistles of inspired apostles--all with divine and eternal emphasis, uniting in the solemn declaration, answer in the negative. And who that is not the veriest novice in the science of the gospel does not know that the atonement prospectively availed for man before Christ's death actually took place, according to the dispensations which preceded that event, as it now does for us who live subsequently to that period. These are only different parts and sections in the one continued history both of the ruined race of man and of the remedial system which his Maker has devised for his salvation. Why then should one part of the same scheme be made to embarrass and perplex another; and that too by its professed friends and advocates ; by men professedly initiated into these deep mysteries, and whose business it is to explain and enforce the provisions and sanctions of the mediatorial system!
In illustration of Mr. A.'s adroitness in detecting the difficulties of Methodism, he says, in connection with the above quotation, “ If it be just to punish this sin (unbelief) with everlasting torments, after a perfect propitiation and satisfaction' have been offered for it, it will be equally just to punish all sin for which Christ died.” So it will, if that sin is not forsaken, but persisted in till the day of grace closes. And who ever believed the contrary ? Or who would have conceived this fact to constitute a difficulty, had not the extraordinary sagacity of the learned author of the difficulties of Methodism first made the discovery? But the remarkable development of this faculty has en. abled him to discover the following dilemma : “ If unbelief be not a sin, it cannot be the cause of future misery; if it be a sin, a perfect satis. faction has been obtained for it, as for all sin, and still it can do the sinner no harm, unless a sin for which a perfect satisfaction is made, and the whole debt paid, can be again called up for satisfaction, and the debt again exacted.” From these premises, the writer draws the following conclusion : “ In the former case, none can be lost; in the latter, none can be saved.” Therefore the doctrine of a “ perfect sa. tisfaction" for all the sins of the whole world must land us either in universal salvation, or universal perdition! A sad difficulty, indeed, if there be no escape from the horns of this dilemma; or if one or the other cannot be broken. But let us not despair till we try their strength, and the cogency and conclusiveness of this sweeping mode of reasoning is fairly tested.
Let us try the strength of the first horn, by inquiring how Mr. A.'s construction of this doctrine would apply to the sinner who had broken the ninth commandment: “ Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” If false witness is a sin, a perfect satisfaction has been made for it; therefore it can do the perjured man no harm; unless a sin for which the whole debt is paid, can be called up for satisfac. tion, and the debt again exacted. In the former case, no false witness can be lost ; in the latter, no false witness can be saved. To make our disengagement from this horn of the dilemma complete, we need only to call to our assistance the two following scriptures : “ Without shedding of blood (a perfect satisfaction) there is no remission.” “ All sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost."
Let us now try the strength of the second horn; and, if we can disengage ourselves from this, this inextricable difficulty will at once vanish. The strength of this horn depends on the literal analogy be. tween the atonement and the actual payment of a debt. But there is, in fact, an essential difference. If the payment of a debt be actually accepted, the debtor is, of course, exonerated. But, suppose it is the express understanding between the surety and the creditor, that on the payment of the debt by the former, and its acceptance by the lat. ter, the insolvent debtor shall be exonerated by complying with certain conditions perfectly within his power, which conditions are agreed to at the time by all the parties ; and that, on the debtor's failure to ful. fil on his part, the whole debt shall still lie against him. Such an arrangement would be in perfect analogy with the nature and provi. sions of the atonement. But the literal analogy between the payment of a debt, and the unconditional discharge of the debtor, is obviously the ground on which this part of the dilemma, in the judgment of Mr. A., is made to rest. And as he has the affirmative of the question, the onus probandi rests on him. Had he given us argument, instead of mere assumption, he would have imposed on us the obligation of showing the frailty of his argument, or of attempting to raise insuperable objections against the doctrine. But as it is, we shall content ourselves with simply showing how naturally the doctrine of universal salvation flows from Calvinism, instead of being a real difficulty in Methodism. This will more clearly appear by throwing the argument in the form of a syllogism, thus :
All who are redeemed by Christ will be infallibly saved. But Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man. Therefore every man will be infallibly saved.
Again : God can decree nothing that is contrary to his own will. But he has decreed every thing that comes to pass. Therefore no. thing that comes to pass can be contrary to his will.
And our Saviour says, “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.” But if God can decree nothing contrary to his will; and if all the acts of men which come to pass have been decreed; and if he can never punish any man for doing his will, then every man does His will; and therefore, according to the declaration of our Saviour, every man will finally enter into the king. dom of heaven. Nor is this a deduction in mere theory only: how many who first began in Calvinism, to be consistent with themselves, never stopped till they ended in gross universalism, as the practical result.
But, in further proof that universal salvation, much less universal perdition, cannot be deduced from the doctrine of the atonement, as set forth in the article under consideration, let it be remembered that we are not always obliged to admit the truth of either the affirmative or the negative of every proposition: both may be false, but both cannot be true. And moreover, we are to make a distinction between redemption by purchase, and redemption by power—a distinction which has been made by the soundest and most profound divines; and which, as far as we know, has been denied by none; unless, indeed, Mr. A. takes upon himself the responsibility of doing so. Perhaps he occupies this ground already ; at all events, this distinction seems entirely to have escaped his notice. While therefore it has been made by divines, both Calvinist and Arminian, whose judgment is entitled to respect on all questions in theology, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt that the article in question teaches the doctrine of universal redemption in the first sense, and in no other. This necessary distinction furnishes a key to this otherwise insurmountable difficulty. And it is thus transferred from the doctrine of the disputed article, on which the author of the “ Difficulties of Methodism” has found so much occasion for animadversion, to his own want of due discrimination. Hence we conceive nothing is hazarded—because we only sustain the established principle-in saying that it is an eternal truth, which will be at last equally acknowledged both by the saved and the lost, that “eternal redemption,” in both senses, was obtained,” not only for those who shall have lived and died in sin from the time of Christ's death to the end of the world, but for all who have thus died from the creation down to that event, as well as for the multitude of the saved in every age of the world. “ Eternal redemption,” by purchase and by power, was alike "obtained for" all; the saved received the latter as well as the former; the lost refused the latter, and thereby eternally forfeited the blessings of both. One more remark, and we shall have done with this subject.
Mr. A. faults Mr. Watson in stating the question of the extent of the atonement as he has done, in the following quotation from his Institutes : “ Whether our Lord Jesus Christ did so die for all men as to make salvation attainable by all ?” Mr. A. says, on the same page,
“The true hinge of the controversy is the design of God in sending his Son into the world, and the intention of Christ in expiring on the cross.”
Now, if it can be shown that it was “God's design” and “ Christ's intention” to make salvation " attainable by all,” Mr. Watson, after all, will be found to have given us the true hinge of the controversy. The whole subject may be brought within a narrow compass. It was, or it was not, God's design in giving his Son, and Christ's intention in giving himself, a ransom for all, to make salvation attainable by all. Any restriction or modification short of the unqualified affirmative, throws us necessarily upon the negative. If we say the merits of Christ are sufficient in virtue for all, but only designed for the elect, we still leave God's design resting on the negative; and the necessary consequences growing out of this view of the subject would be most embarrassing, not to say contradictory and absurd. On this principle, were the command of Christ to Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" fulfilled, it would be preached to thou. sands and myriads for whom God never designed to make salvation attainable. And so with the general and unrestricted promises and invitations of the gospel. Man would be invited to accept what God never designed they should receive; promises on this ground would be made which it was never designed should be fulfilled. The difficulty of reconciling this with the holiness of the divine character has long since been seen and felt by many; to them it has appeared impossible to maintain the doctrine of a partial atonement, without involving the supreme Being in the blasphemous imputation of duplicity and insin. cerity.
But, on the contrary, into what contradictions or absurdities are we involved by adopting the affirmative of this question ? Let us lay it down as a postulate, that it was the design of God and the intention of Christ to make salvation attainable by all ; and then let us see how this will tally with the fact, that some are not saved. Hence the question naturally arises, How does the admission of this fact affect the truth of the proposition ? Will it be answered, that, on this prin. ciple, for such he must have died in vain; and that this goes to impli. cate infinite wisdom? But we deny the consequence in both respects. In a proper and Scriptural sense, even for the finally impenitent, Christ did not die in vain; nor does their being finally lost, though this result was foreseen by God, in the least implicate divine wisdom. Christ has still accomplished the grand purpose for which he was incarnated to make salvation attainable by all-by removing every barrier to the exercise of divine mercy toward the ruined race of fallen man; and that mercy might be shown consistently with all the divine perfections, while they are not only perfectly harmonized, but more fully displayed than they otherwise could have been. It is true the finally VOL. X.-July, 1839.
impenitent are irretrievably lost: but not because there is no “ Mediator between God and man;" nor because Christ was not their Redeemer as a divinely appointed sacrifice, and their Saviour as graciously offered in the gospel : but because they refused such gracious offer, despised this divinely appointed and only sacrifice for sin, or “ neglected this great salvation.” He was Scripturally their “Sa. viour,” in common with all men ; but was not their “special" or actual Saviour by regeneration, because they lived and died in disobedient unbelief. In view of all this, the natural and legitimate conclusion is -not that any imputation is cast upon the divine wisdom, or the grand design of the atopement in the least frustrated—but that the final condemnation of the lost recoils on the sinner himself, and is eternally enhanced by his rejection of the purchased salvation; while the divine veracity, mercy, and justice are asserted and proclaimed in the sight of the universe of moral beings. The divine holiness, wisdom, and benevolence are all equally, distinctly, and harmoniously combined in the atonement and salvation of the glorified; yea, and in the condemnation of the finally lost. God is not only “just,” and at the same time the “justifier of him who believes in Jesus,” but the righteous Judge of the world.
From the following quotation the reader will be able to judge of both the orthodoxy and consistency of Mr. A.'s doctrine of the extent of the atonement, respecting the mere statement of which Mr. Watson is charged with unfairness :
“ Again : It is not denied, that it was infallibly known to Christ, when about to die the accursed death,' that many would not be saved by his sacrifice; but that their guilt would be greatly aggravated, if his blood were charged to their account.”
If his death did not make salvation“ attainable” for them, they could not be saved by his sacrifice; if it did, their guilt and punishment must be greatly aggravated by neglecting so great salvation. But Mr. A. inquires
“ What is the doctrine of the atonement taught in the Scriptures ? It is that Christ is the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe. The exalted character of the divine victim, and the inten. sity of his sufferings, impart a value to the atonement sufficient for a thousand worlds. On the ground of this sufficiency the gospel proclaims, • Ho, every one that thirsteth,' &c. The sinner hears this call of mercy, and, despising its invitation, dies a suicide. If others are made willing in the day of divine power'-if.God works in them (irresistibly ?) both to will and to do of his good pleasure'-and it is an act of infinite grace to them, but of no imaginable injury to those that perish; they remain precisely where they were, and would have been, if God had performed no act of his power to make others willing to be reconciled and restored to his favor. If this be partiality,' show the injustice or caprice implied in the charge. If God has a right to do what he will with his own,' there is no injustice. If he may, for wise reasons in his eternal mind, select from the mass of guilt and wretchedness the objects of his infinite charity, there is no caprice. • Who art thou that repliest against God.”
pp. 156-158. Here then, at last, we have an avowal of the sublapsarian scheme, in terms too unambiguous to be misunderstood. We have, at least in