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our being justified by his righteousness, as contrary to the genuine sense of the scriptures, allege, however, that God forgives the sins of mankind on account of the merit of Christ, and his intercession for us; and this opinion, like the former, is favoured by the literal sense of a few passages of scripture ; but it is contrary to the general and plain tenor of it, which represents all acts of mercy as proceeding from the essential placability and goodness of God the Father only. Besides, there are many passages in the Old Testament in which God is represented as forgiving the Israelites, and receiving them into his favour, on the account of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and their posterity plead the merit of these their religious ancestors in their prayers. God is also represented as ready to forgive the people of Sodom at the intercession of Abraham. Admitting, therefore, that God may grant favours to mankind at the intercession of Christ, this is not a privilege peculiar to Christ, but is common to him and other good men who went before him; so that the general system, of the forgiveness of sin, can by po gneans depend upon the merit and intercession of Christ only.
The following passages seem to represent the Divine Being as dispensing mercy to mankind on the account of Christ, 1 John ii. 12. “ Because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.” Rom. viii. 34. “ Who also maketh intercession forus.”:1 Cor.vi. 11.“ But ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus." Heb.vii. 25. "He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
But let these passages be compared with the following from the Old Testament, Gen. xxvii. 24. “ Fear not, I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed, for my servant Abraham's sake.” Moses, pleading in behalf of the Israelites, says, Exod. xxxii. 13. “ Remember Abraham, and Isaac, and Israel, thy scrvants.” Deut. xix. 27. “ Remember thy servants, Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Look not to the stub. bornness of this people, nor to their sin.” There are many other passages to the same purpose with these.
It must also be observed, that in the name of Christ, which occurs in some of the above-mentioned passages, means as Christ, or in the place of Christ. Thus our Lord says, Many shall come in my name, that is, pre. tending to be what I am, the Messiah; and again, the Comforter, whom the Father shall send in my name, that is, in my place, as it were, to succeed me in his kind offices to you. Praying, therefore, in the name of Christ may mean, in allusion to this sense of it, praying with the temper and disposition of Christ, or as becomes christians, those who follow the directions of Christ, both with respect to prayer and every other duty of the christian life. So also being justified in the name of Christ may signify our being justified, or approved of God, in consequence of our being christians, in deed and in truth, having the same mind that was also in Christ Jesus. Agreeably to this, the apostle Paul exhorts us to put on Christ, as if it were to appear like him, the very same person.. If ihe pardon of sin had universally depended upon
the advocateship of Christ only, it can hardly be supposed that the Spirit would have had hat nanie given to him, and especially by way of eminence and die stinction; for the word wh ch we render comforter is the same that is rendered advocate in 1 John ii. 1. “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” The spirit is also said to intercede for us, Rom. viii. 26. “The spirit itself maketh intercession for us.”
Besides, the passages in which any regard is supo posed to be had to the merit or intercession of Christ, in dispensing mercy to sinners, are exceedingly few, in comparison with ihose which represent this free gift as proceeding from God only; and in some of them we are misled by our translation, as in Eph. iv.-3? “And be ye kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, has freely forgiven you." It ought to have been rendered as Goil in Christ, that is, in the gospel of Christ, has forgiven you. Besides, the word which is here rendered forgive signifies conferring favours in general, and not the forgiveness of sin in particular; and the whole passage was intended to inculcate a benevolent disposition, in imitation of God, who had conferred the most valuable favours upon mankind, in the gospel of Christi
Many passages in which we are said to be justised by faith, and not by the works of the law, were intended to oppose the doctrine of the Jews, who maintained that the observance of the law of Moses was absolutely
necessary to salvation. Writing upon this subject, the apostle Paul expresses himself in the following manner, Rom. ill. 21, &c. “But now the righteousness of God, without the law, is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all that believe, for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness, for the remission of sins that are paet, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law."
If we consider the whole of this passage, and the connection in which it stands, we shall be satisfied, that the apostle is here asserting that, in the gospel of Christ, which was confirmed by his death and resurrection, the Divine Being, as from a mercy seat, (which the word ought to be rendered, and not propitiation,) declares his goodness and mercy to mankind; and since the patriarchs, who believed and obeyed before the law, were justified without the works of the law, so God, acting still upon the same maxims, is just, and the Jews have no reason to complain of it, when
he justifies sinners who believe and obey, freely, and without the works of the law of Moses, under the gospel.
N. B. I do not pretend that this pamphlet contains an illustration of all the texts that have been urged in favour of the doctrines which are controverted in the Appeal; for then I must have written a commentary upon the whole Bible, as there is hardly a text in which some persons do not imagine that they see their own peculiar sentiments; but I think I have taken notice of all that can well be said to be of much consequence. If any considerable omission be pointed out to me, it: shall be supplied in future editions,
A PRAYER, RESPECTING THE PRESENT STATE OF CHRISTIANITY: :
ALMIGHTY God, the giver of all good, and especially the Father of lights, and the fountain of all wisdom and knowledge; we thank thee that thou hast put a spirit in man, and that thine inspiration giveth: us understanding;: that, being formed after thine own image, we find ourselves possessed of a nature superior: to that of brute creatures; and, being endowed with the faculty of reason, are capable of investigating important truth, and of governing our conduct so as to attain to very distinguished degrees of excellence and happiness. We thank thee that, in aid of this light of nature,