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but that the world through him might be saved.” The
Jesus was not sent
If the man in health should take medicine, it would be likely to render him indisposed ; and if a righteous man should repent, he would render himself wicked.
If it be allowed, as has been proved, that Christ the
Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and that bi
the gospel seeks, as subjects of its grace, sinners only,
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might be, the greater would be the urgency for relief. It is granted, that this calculation is not a little wide
pe 100 from that which is more common, in which it is supposed, that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ may extend to the condition of those who are sinners in a certain degree, beyond which point our spiritual physicians justify themselves in saying the grace of God can never extend.
However, no small encouragement is derived from the divine testimony, that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” These blessed words
“ like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Never was cold water to the thirsty soul so grateful as these words of eternal life.
The attention of the hearer is now most earnestly invited to the consideration of the following question. What did Christ Jesus come into the world to save sinners from ? Your public servant has heretofore labored this question in this place; but being persuaded that the general sentiment entertained among professed christians on this question is not according to scrip
He ture, it is felt to be a duty to endeavor to throw as much light on the subject as the present opportunity will permit.
No doubt many of the audience have already made up their minds, that the question proposed with so much solicitude is very easily answered, and is too schild free from difficulty to render much attention to the set of subject necessary.
Though it is greatly to be wished that this were the top re case, it is presumed that a concise view of the general ally received opinion, on this subject, will at once dis- d her cover, that erroneous notions have been and still are
tofi entertained of it.
The general opinion, which we shall endeavor to the disprove, supposes that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” from the demands of vindictive des justice, which recognized the whole sinful family of text
an under the penalty of endless punishment, fre- tatis i
quently called eternal death. This opinion of the penalty required by the divine law is expressed in the Catechism as follows; “ All mankind, by reason of the fall, lost communion with God, fell under his wrath and curse, was made liable to the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.” From the everlasting pains of hell, the same creed teaches us to believe, that Jesus Christ was appointed to save a part, and but a part of mankind. The way by which it is supposed that the Saviour undertook to save sinners from eternal punishment, was by suffering the penalty in room of the sinner; so that justice being satisfied, pardon and everlasting salvation could be granted to the guilty without any infringement of strict justice. Dr. Watts expresses this scheme of salvation nearly as follows;
But it is needless to take up time to be very particular in showing what this common sentiment is, for the most of us have been learning it from the beginning of childhood.
Some of the objections to this scheme of salvation are the following ; 1st. The total silence of the divine testimony respecting this supposed penalty of the divine law. In the divine threatening denounced in the garden there is nothing intimated concerning this penalty of “eternal death,” or the “pains of hell for
." In the malediction on Caiu for the murder of his brother, there is nothing on this hereafter eternal penalty. In all the law given by Moses, containing a minute description of most terrible curses, which in severity extend to the utmost capacity of man to suffer in this life, there is not a single suggestion relating
to this penalty of eternal punishment in a future state.
2. The supposition of such a penalty seems dishonorable to the divine Being, because it could not have been enacted with any design to reclaim the sinner and must, therefore, be entirely repugnant to the character of God as a Father of his creatures. A parent cannot, consistently with parental love, subject a child to any penalty for faults committed, which in rooin of being directed to reform, would inevitably prevent repentance and reformation forever. The word of God informs us that he “is love," and that he is “ ther in Heaven.” Now if this be true, the opinion, that there ever was any vindictive wrath in God, which demanded the sinner's eternal banishment from our Father in heaven must be an egregious error, and one that very
much obscures and dishonor the ever blessed Father of our spirits.
3. If mankind justly deserved this supposed penalty, on account of sins committed against the divine law, how could it possibly be just for one who was not a sinner to suffer it? To condemn the innocent and clear the guilty is strictly forbidden in the law.
4. The supposition, that this penalty did actually lie against the sinners which Jesus came to save, and that he, in the sinner's room and stead, did actually suffer this penalty, embraces the absurd suppoition that Jesus suffered eternal misery in a few days.
5. If according to the common opinion, the penalty of the law subjected men “to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever," if Jesus suffered the penalty for the elect why are the elect any more liable now in this state to the miseries of this life and to death itself, than to the pains of hell forever? Most surely, if Jesus bore the whole penalty of the law in room and stead of the sinner, then it certainly cannot be just for the sinner to bear one part of this penalty any more than another. But there are none who do not partake of the miseries of this life in some degree; and there are none who are exempt from death.
Having shown that the common opinion respecting
salvation is erroneous, having no scripture authority for its support and being contrary to all revealed justice, we may proceed to notice some direct evidence from scripture against it. But here we may be concise. In the law given by Moses, there is a continued thread of plain testimony, that as a nation the house of Israel would be punished accordingly as they should depart from the statutes and judgments which the Lord commanded them : and accordingly we are informed in the sacred pages, that God punished them from time to time as their perverse and wicked conduct deserved. So likewise are we assured, that the divine Being punished other nations for their wickedness: such as Babylon, Nineveh, Tyre, Egypt, &c. In relation to the crimes of individuals we well know that God instituted penalties according to the nature of offences, and gave special directions concerning their being duly inflicted. This is not only true in respect to the laws of Israel, but it is likewise true in respect to all nations. He that holds the sword is the minister of God. Now if all this, which is as plain as any thing in the scriptures, be granted, what room is there for the supposition that the penalty due to transgression is punishment in the future eternal world ? Or what reason ha
we to believe that Jesus suffered in room and stead of transgressors? This same Jesus Christ of whom it is believed, that he suffered the penalty of our sins in our room, that we might not suffer it, plainly states, that he will “ reward every man according to his works." It seems to be evident, from the foregoing considerations, that no such penalty of endless misery was ever connected with the divine law of heaven; and equally evident, that Jesus did not come into the world to save sinners from any such penalty. No, nor did he come into the world to save the sinner from the punishment of his sins.
We have now come to the positive of our question, and we will proceed to show from the scriptures, what “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners from. First, and primarily, he came to save sinners from
innocent e law.
actual save, and d actually