« AnteriorContinuar »
ance and remission of sin should be preached, in the name of Christ, to all nations," Luke xxiv. 47. Their commencement at Jerusalem, in addressing the multitude that appeared convinced of the truth of their testimony concerning Jesus, was, 66 repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ," Acts, ii. 38. The immediate effect of their preaching, in all that were suitably affected by it, was reconciliation, Rom. v. 10," when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son;" and Col. i. 19—21, "for it pleased the Father by him to reconcile all things unto himself; and you that were some time alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled," in the body of his flesh through death. 2 Cor. v. 18, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new ;" and "all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ," v. 17, 18. From these, and a multitude of passages that might be adduced, it is evident that the proper and immediate intention of God in the publication of the Gospel to the nations, whether Jews or Gentiles, was reconciliation to himself by Jesus Christ; and also, that the proper and immediate effect of this publication on all on whom it had its proper effect, that is, on all that understood and believed it, was reconciliation to God; and that in order to their complete and final salvation, according to Rom v. 10, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
Moreover, from the above cited Scriptures, and many others, it is equally evident that the immediate and reconciling effect of the Gospel, in all that were reconciled by it, was the belief of a full and free pardon of all their sins, through Christ, and for his sake, on the account of the propitiary sacrifice which he voluntarily made of himself upon the cross; which is therefore called the atonement or reconciliation. Indeed, when we contemplate the state of the world in the light of divine revelation, we find that all, both Jews and Gentiles, had sinned and come short of the
glory of God; that the whole world was become guilty before him; there was none righteous-no, not one; none that practised good and sinned not. And that, except a very few spiritual characters among the Jews, whose minds were supported by the hopes of the promised Messiah, all mankind were alienated from the life of God, through the blindness of ignorance; and were become enemies in their minds by wicked works. Such, then, being the actual state of mankind, considered as the object of Divine benevolence, we see the indispensable necessity of the means which infinite wisdom and goodness devised to effect a change for the better among such guilty creatures; namely, the proclamation of a general and everlasting amnesty, a full and free pardon of all offences, to all, without respect of persons; and this upon such terms as brought it equally near to, equally within the reach of, all; which was effectually done by the preaching of the Gospel; see Acts xiii. 16-19, and x. 34-43, and ii. 14-35, with many other scriptures. In the passages above referred to, we have a sufficient and satisfactory specimen of the truly primitive and apostolic Gospel, as preached both to Jews and Gentiles, by the two great apostles, Peter and Paul; in each of which we have most explicitly the same gracious proclamation of pardon to every one that received their testimony concerning Jesus. Repent, said Peter, to the convinced and convicted Jews, Acts ii. 38, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. And again, Acts x. 43, to him give all the prophets witness that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. To the same effect Paul in his sermon at Antioch, in the audience both of Jews and Gentiles, Acts xiii. 38, 39. "Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by him, all that believe are justified from all things." God, by the Gospel, thus avowing his love to mankind, in giving his only begotten Son for the life of the world; and through him, and for his sake, a full and free remission of all sins; and all this in a perfect consistency with his infinite abhorrence of sin, in the greatest possible demonstration of his displeasure against it, in the death of his Son, (which
he has laid as the only and adequate foundation for the exercise of sin-pardoning mercy ;) has at once secured the glory of his character, and afforded effectual relief and consolation to the perishing guilty, by a full and free pardon of all sin, "And you, being dead in your sins, and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses," Col. ii. 13. Such being the Gospel testimony concerning the love of God, the atonement of Christ, and the import of baptism for the remission of sins, all, therefore, that believed it, and were baptized for the remission of their sins, were as fully persuaded of their pardon and acceptance with God, through the atonement of Christ, and for his sake, as they were of any other article of the Gospel testimony. It was this, indeed, that gave virtue and value to every other item of that testimony, in the estimation of the convinced sinner; as it was this alone that could free his guilty burthened conscience from the guilt of sin, and afford him any just ground of confidence towards God. Without this justification, which he received by faith in the divine testimony, could he have had peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, or have rejoiced in hope of his glory, as the Apostle testifies concerning the justified by faith? Rom. v. 1, 2. Surely not; or how could he have been reconciled to God by the death of his Son, had he not believed, according to the testimony, that he had redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of the Divine grace, thus most graciously manifested? Or why could he have received baptism, the import of which to the believer was the remission of his sins, had he not believed the Divine attestation to him in that ordinance, concerning the pardoning of his sins upon his believing and being baptized? Every one, then, from the very commencement of Christianity, who felt convinced of the truth of the Gospel testimony, and was baptized, was as fully persuaded of the remission of his sins, as he was of the truth of the testimony itself. Indeed, how could it be otherwise, seeing the testimony held forth this as the primary and immediate privilege of every one that believed it? "For to him gave all the prophets witness, that, through his name, whosoever believeth in him, shall receive,
remission of sins." Likewise Ananias to Saul of Tarsus, after he was convinced of the truth concerning Jesus of Nazareth, saying, "Why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins," &c. But the fullness of evidence with which the Scriptures attest this blissful truth, will abundantly appear to all that search them for obtaining a full discovery of it. In the meantime, from what has been produced we may see with what great propriety the pure and primitive preaching of the Gospel was called the ministry of reconciliation, and how admirably adapted it was to that gracious purpose. Indeed, how could it possibly fail of producing that blissful and happy effect in every one that believed it? Was it not a divinely attested declaration of the love of God to a guilty perishing world, to such a degree as to give his only begotten Son to become a sacrifice and ransom for the sins of men; and that through him, whosoever believeth in him, has remission of sins; is justified from all things; shall not come into condemnation, but shall have everlasting life; and all this immediately upon his believing, figuratively, that is typically, declared and confirmed to him by his baptism; a solemn rite of divine appointment for this very purpose, as the Apostles have explained it? See Rom. vi. 1-6. Hence, also, we may see a just and adequate reason of the great joy, consolation, and happiness that universally accompanied the primitive preaching and belief of the Gospel amongst all sorts of people; as also of the very singular and eminent fruits of universal benevolence, of zeal, of brotherly kindness, of liberality, of fortitude, of patience, of resignation, of mutual forbearance and forgiveness; in a word, of universal self-denying obedience in conformity to Christ; contentedly, nay, even joyfully, suffering the loss of all things for his sake: so that the Apostle John could boldly and confidently challenge the world, saying, "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?"
Such was the virtue of the primitive faith; and such faith the just and genuine effect of the Apostolic Gospel; for it could produce no other correspondent faith, if it produced any at all. In fine, from the premises before us, that is, from the whole apostolic exhibition of the Gospel,
and its recorded effects upon all who professed to believe it, many of whom, it is certain, did not truly understand the Gospel, and therefore could not truly believe it; nevertheless from the whole of the premises, it is evident that the professing world is far gone, yea, very far indeed, from original ground; for such was the import of the Gospel testimony, as we have seen, that all who professed to believe it, whether they were intelligent persons or not, understood at least so much by it that it gave assurance of pardon and acceptance with God to every one that received it; that is, to every baptized believer; consequently every one that was baptized, making the same profession, he both thought himself, and was esteemed by his professing brethren, a justified and accepted person. Hence we do not find a single instance, on the sacred record, of a doubting or disconsolate Christian; nor a single hint dropped for the direction or encouragement of such: but, on the contrary, much said to detect and level presumptuous confidence. How different this is from the present state of the professing world, the discreet and judicious reader need not be informed. Now, surely, if similar causes uniformly produce similar effects, the same preaching would as uniformly produce the same faith that it did in the beginning in all them that believed it; and even in all them that thought they believed it; namely, of the person's justification and acceptance with God; and, of course, the same faith would produce the same peace and joy in the believer, and in him that thought himself to be such, as it did in the days, and under the preaching, of the Apostles and of their faithful coadjutors. T. W.
From the Latter Day Luminary, July, 1823. MISSIONARIES TO BURMAH.
[From the Christian Baptist, Vol. I.]
"On Wednesday, the 11th of June, at Utica, New York, the Rev. Jonathan Wade and his consort were set apart as missionaries to the Burman empire, by a committee of the Board of Managers of the Baptist General Convention. An interesting sermon was delivered on the occasion by the Rev. Nathaniel