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hated the cause in which they were employed. The reader will find some curious information on the subject of this dispute in Scotland, in Lord Woodhouslee's Life of Lord Kames, Vol. I.
Note [Q]. p. 73.
I apprehend that many professors of religion fall into the same mistake about means, which philosophers commit about the laws of nature. The latter talk about laws, till they convert them into causes or powers; the former refer to means as if they were ends, and rest in them with a species of satisfaction, which it is difficult to disturb. It is no uncommon thing to recommend to persons who profess to be seriously desirous of salvation, an attendance upon the means of grace, encouraging them to hope that God's time to visit them may at last
And it is well known that persons go on from year to year, dreaming away their existence, under a mistaken notion that they are waiting till God convert them.
Now I very readily admit that it is the duty of all men to do all things which God commands, and consequently to attend upon the means of his own appointment. But to recommend unconverted men to do so, inculcating the expectation that God will regard it, and save them, includes various mistakes. It supposes, that it is not their duty immediately on a fair statement of the Gospel and its evidence being laid before them, to believe it ;~that God will be more disposed to save them afterwards than now ;—and that they are able to use the means of grace properly, though not to repent and believe. None of these suppositions is correct; and acting upon them, can only tend to neutralize the plain statement of the Gospel, or to make it act as a soporific on the consciences of those who hear it. The apostles had but one way of dealing
with the persons to whom they preached, how diversified soever were their characters and state of mind. They stated the truth plainly and boldly, and called upon men to repent and believe it, without delay. They employed all the means of persuasion, encouragement, and threatening to induce men to do so; but they never thought of recommend. ing men to go on praying without believing, or hearing without obeying the Gospel.
It is the duty of those who know the Gospel, to employ all the means in their power to induce those who know it not, to hear it. When brought to hear it, it is their duty to preach it, and to pray that it may be blessed. But if it is taken for granted that the hearers attend the means, wishing to be saved, but unable to attain to the blessing; and if they are dealt with on this principle, a mistaken treatment must follow. No unconverted person is reconciled to God's method of salvation; he dislikes it as far as he understands it; and his professions of willingness to be saved, refer to a scheme, or righteousness of his own, not to that which God has provided.
The influence of means depends partly on their adaptation or suitableness, and partly on the state of the subject on whom they are employed. The effect produced by a cannon ball, depends both on the force of the powder which propels it, and on the resisting power of the object at which it is thrown. A medicine may be adapted to the cure of a simple disease, but may fail when the same disease is complicated with other disorders. Moral means may be admirably adapted to the ends for which they are intended, and yet may altogether fail, owing to the disposition of those who observe them. The revelation of the Gospel is in all respects admi. rably adapted to a rational and accountable creature. The truth and elearness of its statements; the cogency of its reasonings; the adaptation of its promises to the desires and hopes of men; and of its threatenings to their fears, are such
as can admit of no improvement. They are in all respects worthy of the infinitely wise God. But as long as the moral state of the heart is in opposition to the end which these means embrace, so long their operation will be resisted, and their end defeated.
The means, however, do not altogether fail, even when the end is lost. They have an effect on the natural understanding and conscience of men, which must greatly aggravate their guilt. “ This is the condemnation that light has come into the worid, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.” This led Christ to say to the Jews, that “ it would be more tolerable for Sodom and for Gomorrah, than for them;" and that if he “had not done among them the works which no other man did, they had not had sin.” And thus that may be said of the Gospel, wherever it comes, which Christ said of himself:~" For judgment am I come into this world, that they who see not might see; and that they who see might be made blind.”—John ix. 39.
Note [R]. p. 75.
The connexion which subsists between the forgiveness of sin, and the cure of the moral malady of our nature is of vast moment in the system of redemption. It is this two-fold provision, which constitutes the perfect adaptation of Chris. tianity to the state of the parties it is designed to relieve; and which, while it furnishes a free pardon for their transgressions, prevents the abuse of that pardon, and secures the ultimate design for which it is bestowed. It does this by rendering the pardon, wherever it is truly received, instrumental in delivering the receiver from the sin which renders
pardon necessary. It is this very combination that renders the Gospel so unpalatable to many. They have no objection, in general, to the forgiveness which it presents ; but as the forgiveness cannot be enjoyed, except in connexion with “ being turned away from iniquity,” it is disliked and refused.
A proper view of this inseparable connexion would go a great way to root out the absurdities, and the injurious tendency of Antinomianism, without impairing or limiting the fullest statements of the grace of God. It is that grace, properly understood, which
" teaches men to deny un. godliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly and righte. ously, and godly in the world.” The measure of forgiveness ought to be, and will be, wherever duly felt and appreciated, the measure of gratitude and obligation to obey Him, who “ hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Those who have much “ forgiven them,” will shew it by “ their loving much.” All other professions of admiration of grace, are vain and hypocritical; for we are partakers of the mercy of Heaven in the precise degree in which we experience its constraining power, and live to the praise of Him who bestows it.
It is usual, and on various accounts necessary, to distinguish between justification and sanctification; and to ascribe the one to the blood, and the other to the Spirit of Christ. But there is some danger of separating them too much from each other; by which they may come to be considered as two distinct operations, little connected with each other. The justification of a sinner, it should be remembered, is the justification of one who believes the Spirit's testimony through the Spirit's influence upon his mind. The sanctification of a sinner is his progressive renewal, by the Spirit and testimony of Christ operating upon his soul. Both in the commencement, and through all the stages of the Christian progress, then, there is that combination of spiritual influence with the application
of outward means, which renders the forgiveness and sanctification inseparable, or parts of one common process, which may be described by one word-SALVATION.
We have nothing in the treatment of human creatures by each other, which perfectly corresponds with the process which this word is designed to express. We are familiar with sal. vation as deliverance from danger, as the cure of disease, or as rescue from death. But these circumstances, separately considered, do not give a full idea of the sinner's condition, er of what he experiences when saved. The case of a person under sentence of death, for rebellion, and at the same time dying of the wounds which his rebellion occasioned, affords the best illustration of the state of those whom the Gospel is designed to deliver. To save such a person, he requires to be pardoned, and his wounds to be healed. The one without the other would leave the salvation so incomplete, as to be of little consequence. Forgiven only, he must die of his wounds; healed of his wounds only, he must die for his crime.
Such is the actual condition of sinful creatures. They are both diseased and condemned. Here however the parallel fails. The monarch's pardon might convey to the wounded criminal the hope of life, as far as it depended on him, and might infuse into his soul the principle of an undying gratitude and admiration : but it could do no more. The wounds must be healed by another party, and another process. But here God's wisdom and plan of recovery leave all human wisdom and power far behind. He pardons and heals at the same time, and by the same agency and means. The proclamation of Heaven's kindness applied to the soul, conveys the pardon, and sanctifies the heart.
It is clear from these considerations, that the only thing which can render pardon impossible, in any case, is a state of mind which revolts from or despises the remedy. The case is similar to that of an individual who is dying from