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fied towards them for all that they have done against him.* This pacification, however, is not founded upon their faith, or returning to God; but upon the atonement of Christ, in which their faith terminates: hence, though they are said, being justified by faith, to have peace with God; yet it is through our Lord Jesus Christ.
When I spake of the gospel's "publishing a way wherein God can and will make peace with sinners, on terms infinitely honourable to himself, &c." I had no respect to terms and conditions to be performed by us, that should entitle us to blessings annexed to such performance. My meaning was rather this, that Christ having obeyed the law, and endured the curse, and so fulfilled the terms of his eternal engagement, God can in a way honourable to all his perfections, pardon and receive the most guilty sinner that shall return to him in his name.
In respect of terms and conditions as applied to faith in Christ, though I believe such faith to be incumbent on men in general, yet properly speaking, I do not suppose either that or any thing else in us to be the condition of salvation; unless by condition is barely meant that to which the promise of salvation is made, and without which we cannot be saved. In this sense I should have no objection to its being so called; and I should think Mr. B. could have none any more than I. But as it is a term liable to abuse,
*Psal. vii. 11. John iii. 18. Gal. iii. 10.-Rom. vi. 14. 1 John ü. 12. Rom. viii. 1. Ezek. xvi. 63. Rom. v. 1.
and apt to convey very different sentiments, I had ra ther express my ideas in other language, than go about to qualify it by an explanation.
Dr. Owen does not reject the word condition, but puts an explanation upon it, suited to his sentiments. "It is the appointment of the Lord, says he, that there should be such a connexion and coherence between the things purchased for us by Jesus Christ, that the one should be a means and way of attaining the other; the one the condition, and the other the thing promised upon that condition, but both equally and alike procured for us by Jesus Christ; for if either be omitted in his purchase, the other would be vain and fruitless." Death of Death, b. 2. c. 1. Whatever words may be used, I know of no difference in this matter between Dr. Owen's sentiments and my own.
That the gospel is an embassy of peace, addressed to sinners indefinitely, and that any sinner whatever has a warrant to apply to the Saviour, and a promise of acceptance on his application, is evident from the whole current of scripture. To oppose Arminianism by the denial of this well-known truth must be an unsuccessful attempt. Instead of destroying, it is the most effectual method to establish it. No Arminian, so long as he has a bible in his hand, can ever be persuaded that the language of scripture exhortations to repentance and faith in Christ, is not indefinite. If then his system is acknowledged to stand or fall with the universality of such exhortations, he will not desire a greater concession. He is
well satisfied of this, that if general invitations speak the language of Arminianism, the bible must be written upon Arminian principles. Such a concession, therefore, tends to confirm him in his sentiments; and I believe such a way of speaking and writing amongst the Calvinists has been more than a little advantageous to the Arminian cause.
God gathers his elect out of mankind by a gospel equally addressed to one man as to another. No one, on his first application to Christ, comes to him considering himself as an elect person, or as having any peculiar privilege belonging to him above the rest of mankind; but every such person applies to Christ merely as a poor, guilty, self-ruined sinner; and if the gospel did not speak an indefinite language to sinners as such considered, he could have no hope. If it is said, Yes, he feels himself a sensible sinner, and so considers himself as hereby warranted to apply for mercy-I answer, this is supposing that a person may have solid evidence to conclude himself elected before he has believed in Christ, that is, while he is an unbeliever; than which nothing surely can be more unscriptural and dangerous. The heart of every man who has heard the gospel, either does, or does not fall in with God's way of salvation by Jesus Christ. If it does, he is a believer; if it does not, he is an unbeliever; and has no revealed warrant to conclude himself an object of divine favour. A being sensible of our guilty and lost condition is absolutely necessary to an application to the Saviour; not however as affording us a warrant to come to
Christ, but as being necessary to the act itself of coming. A right spirit does not give us a warrant to do a right action; but it is essential to our compliance with the warrant which we already have.
Mr. B. thinks I have given a wrong sense to the 5th chapter of the second epistle to the Corinthians. (50.) Suppose it should be so, I apprehend the weight of the proposition does not rest upon that passage. I am not convinced, however, by what has been said concerning it; but enough has been said upon that part. If the reader choose carefully to look over the 4th, 5th, and 6th chapters of that epistle, and to compare what each of us has said upon it, he may be better enabled thereby to judge of the mean. ing, than by any thing that can be farther advanced upon the subject.
Mr. B. thinks that "faith itself is not called obedience, but that obedience is the fruit of faith.” (53.) That faith is productive of obedience is readily allowed; but I also apprehend that faith itself is so called. Unbelief in our first parent was the root of all the evil which followed after it; yet unbelief was itself an evil: so it is supposed that faith is not only the root of evangelical obedience, but is an instance of obedience itself. These thoughts are founded upon such phrases as obeying the truth, obeying the gospel, &c.* which I suppose mean a
Rom. x. 16. vi. 17. Gal, iii. 1.
real believing it, and falling in with its grand designs.
These passages were quoted before, to which Mr. B. makes no other reply than by barely asserting, that " they none of them prove faith to be an act of obedience, but only shew that obedience is the fruit of faith." (53.) Obeying the gospel, in Rom. x. 16. is supposed by the inspired penman to be of similar import with believing its report; but it will hardly be said, that believing the gospel report is not faith itself, but a fruit of it." The passage," Mr. B. adds," in Rom. i. 5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith, must I think, to every common understanding, clearly appear to point out the grand design of the gospel ministry, which is (through the blessing of the Holy Spirit) to bring men to obedience to Christ, the object of faith, and to the doctrine of faith." Very true, and we apprehend that faith in the doctrine is that obedience which is required to the doctrine of faith; and that a rejecting of every rival and false confidence, and a being willing to receive Christ, that he may teach, save, and rule us in his own way, is that obedience which is due to him.
Obedience to the gospel, and disobedience to it, are doubtless to be considered as opposites. The former is true special faith, having the promise of cternal salvation;* the latter therefore cannot mean,
* Heb. v. 9.