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1. Christ procured a possible salvation for a part of mankind. 2. He procured the absolute salvation of a part; and 3. A conditional salvation from sin here and in heaven hereafter, for all adult persons of our whole race except adult idiots. This is the sum of the whole matter, and it blows the whole theory into moonshine!
4. But, in strictness of language, it is mere sham to talk about a possible salvation, if the absolute salvation of any be secured; and it is nothing more than sham in any light you choose to view it. It requires but little penetration to discover, that if Christ by the fulfilment of the Divine promises procured only a possible salvation for mankind, salvation before his advent must have been impossible! And if impossible, then are all from the creation to that period, consigned "with one fell swoop” to endless ruin! And yet more horrible still. No distinction on account of differences in moral character. Enoch and the Antedeluvians-Elijah and the troop of Korah-all without distinction consigned to the realms of wo!-And yet more horrible still. If salva: ion before the advent was impossible, the promise of God to bless mankind universally, can • never be fulfilled; nor has it ever been possible for all men to be saved !! These are the legitimate results of Mr. Power's theory. And to use his own language with slight alteration; it opens its own sepulchre as a warning to the world, and inscribes thereon with its own hand, trembling as in death, the following epitaph: Partialism, in its views of the Divine promises, having no hope, and without a Saviour in the world!
For the present this will do for Mr. Power. We grant him the mercy of our silence. We have seen his views do not agree with the admission, anå the fact, of the universality of the promise—that every member of the human family, from the creation of Adam to the end of time, is included therein. We will now hear Mr. Hall, and ascertain whether his exposition of the nature of the promised blessing is not defective also.
After quoting Gal. iii. 8, he defines the blessing as follows:
“The blessing referred to in the promise to Abraham was nothing more nor less than justification by faith."
Is this a correct view of the case? if so it will meet with no difficulties--it will stand unharmed through 'the most rigid scrutiny we can institute. In the first place let us ascertain what the theory must do. It must prove
1. That all who lived previous to the promise being made, were privileged with the opportunity in this life, of being justified by faith.
2. That every individual living at the time of the promise, was fully made acquainted with it.
3. That all men now, without a single exception, enjoy an opportunity of being blessed in Christ, and
4. That from the beginning of the world to the end of time, there will be no exception to the fact that every individual of the human family has enjoyed an opportunity in this life of being justified by faith in Jesus Christ,
Truly Herculean labors these; but they are such as the theory must perform if it sustains itself undefeated. The promise it is granted is universal,—that it is conditional and confined to this life is confidently maintained. It must be shown, therefore, clear as sunlight, that all men have been and will be made acquainted with the promise and the conditions thereunto annexed, othwise the theory cannot escape defeat. We start the inquiry then:
1. Were all who lived previous to the promise being made blest with the privilege, in this life, of being justified by faith? We answer emphatically, No! On the system of the Gospel this was an impossibility.And, had all men been favored with the promise; which they were not; and had all believed, belief would not have been the blessing promised. “Abraham believed God and it was counted him for righteousness.”
That is, he believed the blessing promised to all the kindreds of men would be realised; but believing in the certainty of the blessing, was not the blessing itself. The theory then, in the outset, meets two impossibilities, to wit: 1. All were not privileged with the promise. 2. Had all been privileged with the promise, and believed, belief was not the blessing itself.
2. But, was every individual, living at the time of the promise being made, fully acquainted with it? Certainly not. It cannot be shown God promulgated the promise to the nations of the heathen who never heard of a Saviour, nor of the true God. It cannot be proven that a knowledge of the promise extended beyond the confines of God's chosen people. Conditionally nor unconditionally, were all the nations, families, and kindreds of men preceding the Christian Era, promised personally in this life, a blessing in Christ.
3. And were we to overlook those difficulties, and push our inquiry only in present times, there are obstacles which would still be insurmountable. No man in his senses, will contend that all men now, without a single exception, enjoy an opportunity of being blessed in Christ. Has salvation been offered to all men now living? Does every man now, without exception, know it is possible to be justified by faith in Christ?No, no! There are vast numbers of our race now live ing, who never heard of Christ nor of Christianity; and
4. It is a wilful falsification of fact to affirm all men ever had, or now have, an offer in this life of justification by faith. Thus, what the theory must prove in order to sustain itself, it never can prove, and without hesitation we pronounce it a baseless fallacy.
But lest our author should not feel himself quite refuted, we will compel him to refute himself, by explaining how men must be justified by faith.
If you please, Mr. Hall, tell the reader how it ispossible for men to be justified by faith. God, you say, has promised to bless all the nations, families and kindreds of men on condition of being justified by faith, in this life. Tell me now, Sir, how justification can take place? Ans. “All will admit that the Penticostians were justified by faith: But how?” Yes, Mr. Hall, how? Ans. “By carrying their faith out into practice, in being Baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin?” But, Mr. Hall, was it impossible for any to be justified, and consequently saved, in the age of the world previous to the christian era, without being baptized by immersion? Ans. “This argument is enough, methinks, to convince any who believes his Bible, that Baptism is necessary in order to salvation!”
But, Mr. Hall, God has promised to bless the whole human family in Christ; and Baptism, you know, did not belong to the age of the promise. Cannot a person
be blessed in Christ, without being Baptized by immersion? Ans. “Baptism is heavens own appointed means of bringing men into Christ! This is the way—the appointed way, and there is not a man on the face of this broad earth can put his finger on the verse that points out any other way to come into Christ!'' Hall's discourse on Baptism, p. 288–9.
Now were we disposed to employ the gentleman's braggadocio language, we should say he had cut himself up into inch pieces, pulverized and sifted himself like wheat. Certain it is, he swings beautifully on a rope of his own twisting, utterly divested of his stolen habiliments, a Campbellite in whom was great guile! His theory is completely exploded; and, if Mr. Power will accept of such a companion, we will consign them both to one tomb, and write upon its portals,-Requiesce in Puce!
We are confident the reader will now see, that, granting what is admitted on all sides; to wit: the universali:y of the promise; no conditional theory is competent to meet the exigencies of the case. fourth of the human family have had an opportunity in this life to be blessed in Christ, neither in the view of one theory nor the other. No temporal advantage connected with the gospel on earth comprises the blessing promised, for by far the largest portion of the earth knew nothing concerning it. Conditional theories, we repeat, wiil never do in this case. Conditional promises there are, we grant; but, as before stated, they all relate to man's faith and physical action in the present life. There is not a single exception to this among the promises quoted by our author in illustration of the fact that conditions are sometimes implied when not direct