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needed reconciliation: And it was through Jesus Christ, that God reconciled them unto himself; for they were saved through faith in Christ, as a Lamb slain (intentionally) from the foundation of the world.
In Heb. chap. ii. the exclusion of devils from the benefits arising from the death of Christ is expressed in very strong terms. "For verily he taketh not hold of "angels," (verse 16. See the marginal reading.) The reason why He assumed human nature, is stated in ver. 14, 15, 17. "Forasmuch then as the children are par"takers of flesh and blood, He also himself took part of "the same; that through death, He might destroy him "that had the power of death; that is, the devil; and "deliver them, who through fear of death, were all "their life-time subject to bondage. Wherefore in all "things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren: "that he might be a merciful and faithful High-Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for "the sins of the people." There are three things remarkable in this passage. 1. The fallen angels will not be saved through the death of Christ, but destroyed. 2. The children for whom Christ died, to make reconciliation for their sins, are said to be partakers of flesh and blood; but the devils are not partakers of flesh and blood; therefore they are not His children, nor has he made reconciliation for their sins. 3. Atonement can only be made in the same nature which offended. It behooved Christ, to be made like unto his brethren in all things, that he might be qualified as their High-Priest to make reconciliation for their sins. This is the reason why He took flesh and blood in order to redeem mankind. The devils therefore cannot be benefited by what Christ did in the human nature, seeing they do not partake of flesh and blood. If they are His brethren, and He intends to make reconciliation for their sins, it behooves Him to be made like unto them in all things; i. e. it is necessary He should assume their nature. But the Universalists
do not contend for their salvation in any other way than by the blood of the cross; we may therefore very safely conclude, that they have neither part nor lot in this
Messrs. Weaver and Vidler both allow that the seed of Abraham, on whom Christ taketh hold, means all believers under the present dispensation; but these they call, the first-fruits; and Mr. V. wishes to know, "whether the "harvest will not follow ?" i. e. whether unbelievers and devils will not reap everlasting life. The apostle James calls the believers of his day, with propriety, the firstfruits; because they were the first converts under the Gospel dispensation; but whether believers eighteen hundred years afterward ought to be viewed in the same light may be disputed. However, as these gentlemen expect such a wonderful crop in the time of harvest, it may be necessary to inform them, that our Lord has given a pretty full account of it in Matt. xiii. When that season arrives, the angels, who are the reapers, will gather the tares," i. e. "the children of the wicked one, and cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall "be wailing and gnashing of teeth." So that after the harvest is got in, many will have to say, "The first"fruits are gathered; the harvest is past, the summer "is ended, and we are not saved."
The word all, in Coloss. i. 15-20. cannot be understood in so comprehensive a sense when applied to reconciliation, as when applied to creation; because though Jesus Christ created, He did not die to reconcile, the holy angels. Mr. Vidler says, "There must be a recon"ciliation betwixt them, and such as are reconciled to "God by Jesus Christ."* But it must be observed, that God did not give Jesus Christ to die that saints and angels might be reconciled to each other, but " that He might reconcile all things "unto Himself." And in this sense the holy angels could not require reconciliation.
* God's Love, p. 22.
The design of God respecting the reconciliation of men is in many instances frustrated. He hath committed to His ministers the word of reconciliation, and they beseech and pray sinners to be reconciled to God, 2 Cor. v. 19, 20. Yet numbers do not receive their testimony. They may still justly complain with the prophet, "Who "hath believed our report ?" And even after the reconciliation hath taken place, final salvation is suspended upon the condition of perseverance; for immediately after the apostle had expressed the pleasure of God about the reconciliation of all things, he adds, "And you "hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through "death, to present you holy, and unblamable, and unreprovable in His sight: if ye continue in the faith, "grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the "hope of the Gospel." Now if devils are not included in this account of reconciliation, and if the reconciliation and final salvation of men be conditional, then this passage affords no support to the Universal Restoration.
On John xvii. 20, 23. Mr. Winchester observes, that "when the church shall be one, in spirit, love, design, "judgment, &c. as the Father and Son are; then shall "the world believe, and believing, have life; then shall "the world know Him, whom to know is life eternal. "But as this great cause has never yet existed, the effect "has not yet followed; but when the first shall be, the "last shall take place in consequence." Mr. W. has not left us in the dark about the time when these events will happen. His friend asks, "When shall the world "believe and know that Christ is the sent of God ?" Mr. W. answers, " When the great marriage of the Lamb "shall be celebrated, and his Bride shall be one in uni"versal love and fellowship, as the Father and the Son now are."* When I had read this I turned over to
* Dialogues, p. 96, 97.
Rev. xix. which gives an account of the marriage, to see whether the whore of Babylon was invited to the feast, and made one of the bride-maids; but I found all heaven rejoicing that He had judged the great whore, and singing Alleluia, because her smoke rose up for ever and ever!
On Judgment by Jesus Christ.
ALL punishments inflicted by God," says Mr. Wright, are connected with mercy; to him belongeth mercy, even when he rendereth to every man according to "his work." Psa. Ixii. 12. If Mr. W. means that it is an act of mercy to render to every wicked man according to his work, how will he reconcile it with what he hath said, about "justice not requiring that sinners should re"ceive according to their demerits?" Wherein lies the difference between rendering to every wicked man according to his work, and every sinner receiving according to his demerits? And yet it seems one would be an act of mercy, the other an act of injustice!
It is granted that punishments are connected with mercy, but not that the mercy always extends to the individual sufferers. God" divided the Red Sea into "parts-and made Israel to pass through the midst of "it but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red "Sea; for His mercy endureth for ever." Psa. xxxvi. 13, 14, 15. Mercy is here connected with the overthrow of Pharaoh and his host; but no man in his senses supposes the mercy extended to the Egyptians. It was a mercy to the Israelites to be delivered in this way out of the hands of their enemies. In Psa. lxii. we find that David, like the Israelites above, was surrounded with enemies. They imagined mischief against him, ver. 3.
They consulted to cast him down from his excellency, ver. 4. He had recourse to God for defence, and exhorts the saints to a similar conduct under similar circumstances, ver. 5, 8. He then warns the wicked of the sinfulness and vanity of their attempts against God's people, ver. 9, 10. And his own confidence, his exhortation to the saints, and his warning to the wicked, are all founded upon the next words; "God hath spoken once; twice have I read this; that power belongeth " unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy; "for thou renderest to every man according to his "work," ver. 11, 12. Upon the whole then we learn, that God has power to protect His saints, and to punish their enemies; and that the mercy which he keeps for His saints will induce Him to exercise His power in the way of judgment upon the wicked: He will render to them according to their works, as in the case of Pharaoh and his host, and thus deliver His people.
Mr. Wright proceeds, "The future existence of man"kind is the consequence of the death and resurrection of "Christ, (John xi. 25. 1 Cor. 15, 22. 2 Tim. i. 10.) "but it is acknowledged that the death and resurrection "of Christ are effects of Divine love, consequently every thing arising from his death and resurrection "must be an effect of love. The Son of God will
judge and punish the wicked: consequently his judging "and punishing them will be mediatorial acts, intended "to bring them into subjection, and reconcile them to "God."
If all the effects of a cause are effects of Divine love, because that cause is an effect of that love, it, will follow that, since the existence of man, as a free agent, is an effect of the love of God, every thing produced by man as a free agent, is an effect of it also, i. e. the sins of men are effects of the love of God.
Although the death and resurrection of Christ are ef fects of Divine love, this does not hinder, but that the bene