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The promises of temporal good are made to depend on our yielding obedience to the laws of Industry, Health, Sobriety, Economy, etc. The Promises of spiritual good, the present enjoyment of Religion, of righteousness, of piety; the present comforts proceeding from an enlightened confidence in God, and trust in Jesus—all depend upon certain conditions of repentance, faith, and practice. The Scriptures abound with these conditional promises. But none of them are directly connected with, nor involve the FINAL DESTINY of mankind. This was a matter too important, too momentous, to be placed on any contingency resting in so frail, ignorant and blind a creature as man,
But above these, there will be found in the Bible, certain Unconditional promises. They are Promises which man has no power to fulfill, and no power to frustrate. Their fulfillment rests primarily, and solely, in God. They depend wholly on his Veracity, his Power his Wisdom and his Resources. These promises therefore, will as certainly be fulfilled as Jehovah is the God of Truih! It is for the want of making this distinction between the Conditional and Unconditional Promises, that Theologians have wandered so far from a correct appreciation and understanding of God's gracious purposes. It is among the unconditional promises of God—those which depend upon him for Fulfillment-ihat we find a large and emphatic class which proclaim his purpose to bring all his intelligent creatures to holiness and happiness.
Promise-i. “ I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”—(Gen. iii. 15.)— True this language is figurative ; but it nevertheless contains a great and precious promise. The Serpent represents sin. “The seed of the woman,” refers to Christ. The wound which the serpent inflicts is on the heel, a part where but little comparative injury can be done, represent that the assult of sin on the human race, will be temporary and curable. But the wound which the seed of the woman gives the serpent, is on his head, a place where a wound is fatal. In this we have a representation that Christ shall inflict a fatal wound on Six--that he shall overthrow and annihilate it, and deliver those whom it had bound as captives. This promise is unconditional.
PROMISE--ii. To Abraham God made the following promise:“In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."--(Gen. xii. 3.) This promise was repeated to Abraham again and again. “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in hin.” --(Gen. xviii. 17, 18.) Again :--" In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”--(Gen. xxii. 18. The same promise was renewed to Isaac :--"I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy Father. And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and I will give unto thy seed all these countries.
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”--(Gen. xxvi. 3, 4.) This promise was also confirmed to Jacob : --" In thee, and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed." -(Gen. xxviii. 14.)
The seed of Abraham so often mentioned in these promises, St. Paul declares, is Christ:-“ Now in Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."-(Gala. iii. 16.)
Here then was a promise given to Abraham, renewed to Isaac, confirmed to Jacob, ihat in their seed, which is Christ, all the na. tions and families of the earth shall be blessed. These promises constitute the whole sum and spirit of the gospel of Christ. St. Paul says they compose the gospel :-“And the scriptures, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached befcre the Gospel unto Abraham saying, In thee shall all nations be blessel.”—Gala. iii. 8.) Is this the gospel proclaimed by those who style themselves evangelical preachers? Do they declare all nations and families shall be blessed in Christ? If they preach any other gospel than this, they preach a spurious gospel. What does St. Paul say of all such : “ Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accused.”—Gal. i. 8.)
It will be seen that these proinises are entirely unconditional. True, they were made known to Abraham, as a reward for his faithfulness in obeying God. He was blessed in having revealed io bim a purpose so great and glorious. The faithfulness of Abraham was not the condition on which these promises should be fulfilled, but the condition simply, on which they should be made known to bim. God had determined thus to bless all men in Christ, long before Abraham was created. If Abrahain had proved faiihless, God would still have carried this great purpose into effect through other instrumentalities. Jehovah is under no compulsion to accomplish his plans in one particular way, or not at all. He chooses his own instruments, his own means, his own time. Thus should we understand the language of St. Paul :-“ Abraham believed God, and it was accounteil to him for righteousness.”—(Gala. iii. 6.) Not that God would fulfill his great and precious promises because Abraham believed them. But Abraham believed he would fulfill them, and that belief was accounted to him for righteousness. Again the Apostle says :-“So then, they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham.”—(Gala. iii. 9.) Not that they which be of faith, shall as a reward, be included in the promises which God made to Abraham. But those who believe those promises—who have faith that God will thus actually bless all men through Christ --shall be blessed with the enjoyment of the peace which flows from that faith, as Abraham was.
Mr. Holmes in his seventh Negative Argument, attempts to show that these promises are entirely fulfilled in this life. In
this effort he makes a great display of critical acumen, in order that the sophistry involved may be the more effectually concealed. He declares that the promise to bless all nations, kindreds and families, in Christ, has been already fulfilied—that there is not a nation on earth which has not even now, been blessed in the Redeemer. This is strong language to be used, with any expecta. tion of being believed. The credulity that will receive it, must be unbounded. It would be difficult to find another individual who would hazard before an intelligent audience, an assertion so utterly destitute of all support from sober fact, as this. Vast numbers of nations have lived and died, without knowing there was a God, a Savior, or a gospel. How have they been blessed in Christ? The Elder replies, that they have been blessed by being placed in a condition of initial salvation. To the wondering multitude, this words initial," may be supposed to convey a vast depth of meaning! But if it has any sense in the connection where my friend places it, it signifies a kind of salvation of which the poor heathen have no knowledge, until it is too late to be saved!!! Then, when cast into endless perdition, for the first time, they learn there is a Redeemer through whom they might have been saved, if they had not unfortunately been created in heathenism !! Truly they should be extremely thankful for the blessing of " initiala: salvation! The Elder also says, the heathen have been blessed in Christ, by having the offers of salvation made to them. I meet this declaration with a flat denial of its truth! Who does not know that millions of heathen have never heard of salvation, much less had it offered them! It certainly indicates great courage, or great stupidity, to make statemenis which the veriest schoolboy in the audience can refute!! Moreover, Mr. Holmes insists the heathen have been blessed in Christ, by the salvation of all who die in infancy, through the atonement of Christ. If infants can be saved only through the atonement of Christ, it follows that all who died befote the atonement was made, were lost forever!! There is no avoiding this conclusion from my friend's premises. And here we have, in all its odious deformity, the old Calvinistic doctrine of infant damnation!! The whole of this attempt to set aside the plain import of these promises, possesses a shallowness so evident, that it is astonishing Elder Holmes should jeopardize his reputation in making it! The pretence that all the Nations, all the KINDREDS, and all the FAMILIES of the earth have already been blessed in Christ, in this life, cannot be made by all the art of my friend, to put on even a show of plausibility!! It is a poor and pitiable attempt to conceal the light of one of the most glorious promises God has ever made the world!
How have those innumerable multitudes who lived in heathenism before Christ's advent-those since his advent, and those now in heathenism--been blessed in Christ, in any real and sub
stantial sense ? This moonshine of “ initial" salvation, and of. fers of mercy, never heard or dreamed of by those who are danned for not accepting them, falls infinitely short of coming up to the great blessing contained in the promise. Millions have livel and died upon whose ears the tidings of salvation never sounded. . It is but uiter mockery to them, and in plain violation oi ail meaning in words, to insist they have been blessed through Christ in this life.
We must look to another state of being for the entire fulfillment of these “great and precious promises." Dr. Doddridge says,
_ Promises of heavenly felicity were contained even in the covenant made with Abraham, which the Mosaic could not disannul.” That promises to bless all men in Christ, composed the Covenant which God made with Abraham, is evident from Gala. iii. 16-18. The kingdom and reign of Christ are not contined to this brief existence. He does but little here, comparitively, to bring any soul into that perfection which he will ultimately bestow on all. Those nations and individuals, whom Christ does not bless in this existence, he will make objects of his influence and instruction, and the recipients of his blessing hereafter. The plain principles of Impartiality demand this. The father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth. And he will show him greater works than these, [i. e. greater works than Christ does on earth,] that ye may marvel.”-(John v. 20.) " In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you.”—John xiv. 2.)
" For he must reign [both in this world and the next) until he hath put all enemies under his feet.”--(1. Cor. iv. 25.) “To this end Christ both died and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the deal and living."-(Rom. xiv. 9)
Promise iii.--Break forth into joy! Sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem. *
The Lord hath made bare his Holy Arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God."--(Isa. lii. 9. 10.) The words - all the ends of the earth" in scripture phraseology, signify all mankind. Notice the Universality of this promise. "ALL NATIONS-ALL the Ends of the Earth shall see the Salvation of our God.” It includes every nation, every human being that ever has lived or ever will live in the earth. The promise is un. con-litional. All SHALL see and experience the salvation of Gol! Can any promise be more explicit or absolute ?
PROMIE iv.-- All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord ; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thec. For the kingdom is the Lord's; and he is the Governor anong the nations."-(Ps. xxii. 27. 28.) None can doubt that in the phrases, "all the ends of the world," and 6 all the kindreds of the nations," the Psalmist designed to de.
scribe literally ALL MEN. Not only all that may live on the earth at any certain time, but all that have ever been on earth-all that have ever belonged to any nation, tribe, or family. What does the inspired writer say of their ultimate condition? Ile declares they shall “remember”-be instructel of God and Christ"and turn unto the Lord"-ihe influence of that instruction shall be to hring them to repentance, an i turn their footsteps into the paths of obe lience and love, and cause them all at last to surround the Throne of the Eternal, and in joy and gladness worship before him!! The reason assigned by David, why this great work shall be done, is perfectly satisfactory and conclusive.lle attributes it to the Will, the Sovereignty, the Power of Jehovah. “For the Kingdom is the Lord's, and he is the Governor among the nations!"
PROMISE V.-"All nations whom thou hast made, shall come and worship before thee, O Lord, and shall glorify thy name."(Ps. lxxxvi. 9.) The phraseology of this promise has been intentionally framed by its author, in such a manner as to make it necessarily universal. He does not simply say “all nations,” but “all nations WHOM THOU HAST MADE, shall come and worship before thee!" All nations who ever have, do now, or will hereafter, exist on the earth--all whom God has made, or ever will make, in our world, SHALL, in due time, be brought into a condition of mind and heart, to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!! I ask if language could possibly frame a promise, which could express in plainer terms, the final holiness and happiness of all mankind !!
PROMISE vi. —- All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord.:'(Ps. cxlv. 10.) If all God's works shall praise him, then all intelligent beings shall praise him. What can this prove, but the holiness and happiness of all mankind? Will it be to the praise of Gol that innumerable millions of his rational offspring, whom he made expressly to glorify, honor and love him, are plunged into endless sin and woe? Can the imprecations, blasphemies, groans anl shrieks of damned spirits, be called PRAISE io God!! O Father! forgive those who in deep ignorance and blindness, entertain a view of thy proceedings, so monstrous! Who does not see that to have this glorious Promise fulfilled, or approach towards a fulfillment, all men must be brought to that condition of holiness and love, that will lead them cheerfully and gladly to fill before the Majesty of Heaven, and praise and adore him who liveth and reigneth forever!!
PROMISE vii.--In this mountain (the Gospel,] shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people, a feast of fat things. * And he will destroy in this mountain, the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swillow up death in victory. And the Lord God will wipe away the tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his